Climate Change Campaigners Raise Concerns About The European Union's Renegotiation Of A Fossil Fuel Deal
Environmental campaigners slammed a compromise deal negotiated by the EU on Friday to amend a decades-old agreement that allows energy companies to sue governments for reducing their earnings.
The Energy Charter Treaty was signed in 1994 by 52 governments, mostly from Central Asia and Europe, to protect energy investments in fragile ex-Soviet republics.
The European Union has pushed for a revision of the agreement to prevent legal challenges from investors and firms that could jeopardise ambitious climate targets.
After two years of talks, negotiators in Brussels reached a provisional deal to amend the treaty on Friday, which the European Commission claims "ensures a high degree of investment protection while reflecting sustainable energy transition goals."
The deal excludes new fossil fuel investments from protection and establishes a 10-year phase-out time for current ones.
However, climate groups criticised the update's flaws, saying they might jeopardise efforts to reduce global warming.
Amandine Van Den Berghe, a lawyer for ClientEarth climate charity, said: "With a 10-year phase-out period for fossil fuel investments, EU countries could still be sued for putting in place progressive climate policies for at least another decade—the key window for action if humanity is to avoid climate catastrophe."
Despite criticism from EU parliamentarians and member states such as Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe accused Brussels of "greenwashing" revision of this unsustainable pact."
"It's unbelievable the EU agreed to lock in fossil protection for at least another decade," said CAN expert Cornelia Maarfield.
"This means countries will continue to spend taxpayers' money compensating fossil fuel companies rather than fighting climate change and moving to a renewable energy system."
The deal in principle reached on Friday will enter into force in November if none of the signatories objects, but it must still be ratified by the European Parliament and member states on the EU side.